Sunday 18 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
(cf Exodus 3.2, 24.12)

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 7.10-16 | Psalm 80.1-7, 7-19| Romans 1.1-7 | Matthew 1.18-25 |

Jacobus Revius (1586-1658), translated by Henrietta Ten Harmsel.

Most blessed is this maid, all virgins' crown,
The temple of God's Son and inmost might,
The dawn through which the long-awaited light
Of heaven's rising Sun comes smiling down
Most blessed she, the sister of her child,
Daughter of him whom she herself gave birth,
The bride of him who from her womb came forth—
That womb where heaven and earth were reconciled
Most blessed are those breasts from which the spring
Of life itself lay thirsting for a drink,
Most blessed is that lap in which he lay,
But blessed above all are those who live
(As Mary did) for him, who gladly give
Their lives to him by walking in his way


To you O Lord we bring our lives
Troubled, broken or at ease
A sacrificial offering
For you to use
Take away our selfishness
And teach us to love as you loved
Take away our sense of pride
And show us the meaning of humility
Take away our blindness
And show us the world through your eyes
Take away our greed
And teach us how to give as you gave
Show us your ways
Teach us your paths
That we might walk with you more closely
Our hand in your hand
Our feet in your footsteps
From the baby in a stable
To eternity, Amen.


18 December is International Migrants Day.

Jackson Beardy (1944-84), Manitoba, Canada. Nativity. Commissioned by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as one of 20 Canadian art works illustrating the 1975 Sunday Mass Book.

"It is my personal belief that a messenger from the Great Spirit came to earth in the form of His image after Him through a virgin birth in unrecorded history. … We see the virgin mother-to-be holding on to an embryo connected to the sun symbol (the Great Spirit) who has deemed it necessary to send his messenger to his people. The mother is also connected to Mother Earth who is nursing her. She too is connected by a lifeline to the sun symbol. Around her are all the orders of creatures who come to see the messenger. He is born to explain their existence, [to restore] harmony between humanity and the elements, physi­cally, mentally, and spiritually. On the other side of the sun symbol we see an elder in prayer, ritually offering a bowl filled with sacred things. You can see the sun symbol is resting on his hunched frame, …… bearing him down with doubts, fear, depression, and all the ills of his time, his back to the very miracle he is praying for. … The four semicircles represent the elements of the air: snow, rain, tornadoes, heat. The moon is painted above the elder. We regard the moon as our Grandmother who keeps vigil over all creatures during the night.
—Jackson Beardy.

Roderick Williams, O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
Choir of Clare College Cambridge, cond. Graham Ross.



In the straw of the stable, the humble and the complicated are able to kneel together. If God is there in the simplicity of the baby in the straw … that means he is there in naked simplicity for the sophisticated and troubled as well, those who have had long and tortuous journeys, cold comings, to the stable. Yes, we are told to become like children, faced with the invitation to believe and trust in the God of Bethlehem. But that is not the same as saying, as we all too often do, 'Christmas is a time for the children', meaning that it has nothing to say to grown-ups, who indulge the pretty fantasy for a short while, but stay firmly outside the stable door.
—Rowan Williams. Christmas Day Meditation, BBC Radio 2002.

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

Prayers used in this 2016 Advent Calendar are © John Birch, 2016, at and used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence.
St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602